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Indian Tuna Fishermen Pushed To Convert To Longlining India, August 14, 12

N. Ramesh, Director, MPEDA (marketing), addressing a workshop in Tuticorin on Monday
To guide small and medium fishing vessel owners on the importance of adopting suitable methods of fish catch, especially tuna fish, Marine Products Export Development Authority (MPEDA) in association with Food and Agriculture Organization and INFOFISH organized a program here on Monday.

The program was designed to improve sustainable production of tuna from marine waters, enhance value addition for export and subsequent gain of earnings and employment generation. At a two-day workshop, which commenced here on Monday, on “Improving Post Harvest Practices and Sustainable Market Development for Longline Fisheries for Tuna and other Pelagic Fish Species,” N. Ramesh, Director, (Marketing) MPEDA, Cochin, chief guest, stressed the need for raising awareness among processors to ensure quality and marketing for assured income among stakeholders.

Ninety percent of subsidy was provided to beneficiaries in Tamil Nadu for conversion of trawl fishing and drift netting into tuna fishing by longliners. Mostly beneficiaries off Tuticorin coast, Nagapattinam coast and Thoothur coast in Kanyakumari district enjoyed the benefits.

Besides, subsidy was being extended to equip boats with insulated fish-hold to store seafood hygienically. Unhygienic fish handling and poor storage could be a constraint in access to markets.

Value addition of seafood with improved processing methods and packaging would certainly enhance its market value, the participants were told. Karunasagar Iddya, Senior Fishery Officer, FAO, Rome, said that there was a considerable export potential from India for tuna fish which was over exploited in 2010, which recorded a total catch of 6.6 million kgs.

R. Amal Xavier, Joint Director of Fisheries, Tuticorin Region, K. Rajendramany, Assistant Director, MPEDA, scientists from Central Marine Fisheries and Research Institute, fisheries officials of Tuticorin and boat owners attended.

The fishermen would be exposed to demonstration on onboard handling of tuna at Tuticorin fishing harbor on Tuesday as part of the program.